Except for Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass ("The Barack Obama Temple of Adoration and Fealty") and the paper's editorial cartoonist Scott Stantis ("Parks we wreck"), the media have generally chosen not to probe the important questions about the serious policy, environmental and legal implications that bedevil the Obama Center.
The media brushed aside a lawsuit by Protect Our Parks that hangs over the project like the Sword of Damocles. I've examined the lawsuit here and here and as a non-lawyer I found the arguments quite credible. There are a host of other problems that deserve attention, such as whether this land grab of public, lakeshore property by a private entity for its own control and propaganda purposes signals an end to the century-old policy that holds that Chicago's lakefront should be "forever open, free and clear."
I've witnessed some of the finest investigative reporting on the papers I've worked with going back to the Chicago Daily News. I know that reporters like Charles Nicodemus who, at the Sun-Times almost single-handily squelched bad plans to put the main Chicago Public Library into an old department store and is responsible for the fine central library that now graces the south Loop, would not have let the Obama shrine pass unexamined. Editorial boards would have been all over the project's details. Columnists would have exposed the backroom ties of a power structure--the pols, contractors, labor unions and the Obama ass-kisssers--that can't wait to dip their fingers into the gravy. What happened to the media skepticism that once made Chicago the greatest news town in America?
I admire Kass for breaking the silence by mocking the "stupendous news
coverage" about the perfection of the "temple to a political god." All at the expense of taxpayers. Would the the bevy of Chicago's left-wing columnists would be spurred by similar agnosticism.
This reminds me of how the media swallowed whole the pitch for O'Hare Airport expansion without a serious look at its exaggerated promises that, to this date, have not been met. You have to go back to 2001 to the Tribune's Pulitzer Prize-winning explanation examination of "The parochial and petty politics that have turned O'Hare International Airport into a treasure-trove for concessionaires and contractors also are at the heart of why the transportation hub is a quagmire of delays, hassles and heartaches."
No one in the media bothered to question Mayor Richard M. Daley when in 2001 he made the ridiculous promise that the $6 billion O'Hare Modernization Program would reduce bad weather delays by 95 percent and 79 percent overall. I guess I'm the only one who has followed up to show that all that new concrete hasn't done squat. It turned out so badly that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed another multi-billion-dollar plan to achieve what was promised 17 years ago. And who has followed up to find out how much was actually spent on the original modernization plan? I have. Months ago. And still no answer from the city's Aviation Department. Is it because the costs have zoomed past not just the original $6 billion and the last reported (long ago) of $14 billion or $16 billion?
Chicago is about to hand over to private interests a crown jewel of its publicly owned property for the satisfaction of a narcissistic Barack Obama and the people who will make money off this travesty. Whether the media can or will try to stop it appears now to be a moot question.
My earlier commentary on the Obama Center/Library:
- The Obama Center: The Mistake on the Lake
- Mr. Obama, keep your monstrous menhir out of Jackson Park
- Obama library site still a disappointment
- Will ‘community activist’ Barack Obama allow his library to trash a South Side community
- Illinois can’t afford Barack Obama’s presidential library
- Where are the defenders of Chicago’s parks?
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